u n a p o l o g e t i c - a poem on growth, by KJ Kindling


U N A P O L O G E T I C  

by KJ Kindling

I paint stripped my soul back

to it’s Ash beginnings. Sanded out

the edges from all the breaks.

I was home of splintered wood.

It took time.


I didn’t call it self care when I did it.

More like self-repair.

More like self-salvation.


I tore out every page I wrote for

what was to come. I crumpled up

dreams when I balled that paper up.

Put promises in the trash with the

junk mail.


Didn’t call it growth.

Didn’t call it moving on.

Called it a last ditch effort. 

Sat in the buzzing silence of

no plans, running my finger

along a torn spine in an

empty room.


It wasn’t body positivity when

I looked at the bend in my toes and

my split ends, and pressed my tongue

to the dark soft spots in the back 

of my mind that ache when I touch

them and thought, “This is all I am

so it must be enough.”


I didn’t call it grace because it wasn’t. 

Grace is built on forgiveness and

acceptance and I acknowledge that

I had no other choice. 


I paint stripped my soul back. Examined

myself from all angles, flipped through 

blank pages in the silence and the page turning


Growing isn’t always as photogenic

as it seems.

KJ Kindling is a seventh generation Coloradoan, a rescue dog enthusiast, a feminist, a life long poet, and a naturalist. She's been featured in Harness Magazine, the She Will Speak Anthology, Punch Drunk Press's website, and a couple other places and hopes to publish a collection of poems by the end of 2020.

Jean Bub